Indian manned space flight delayed further

September 18th, 2012 - 12:00 am ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, S Sep 17 (IANS) India’s first human space flight would be delayed further for want of requisite technologies and capabilities, a top space official admitted Monday.

“The launch programme of our first manned mission in space is going in a skewed phase. Though we have identified critical technologies for such an ambitious project, we have to build the capabilities for undertaking such a challenging mission,” Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K. Radhakrishnan told reporters here.

The state-run Indian space agency in 2006-07 planned to send a two-member crew into the space orbit for seven days and bring it back safe to Earth by 2014-15 at an estimated cost of Rs.12,400-crore ($2.8 billion).

“A human space flight is a complex mission requiring a host of things such as a heavy rocket, re-entry vehicle, space capsule, space suits, environmental control, life support systems and an escape system for the crew at the launch-pad and during the flight to be safe in the event of a mishap,” Radhakrishnan pointed out.

The space agency, however, has commissioned pre-project studies for the manned mission with Rs.150 crore grant from the government.

“With human life at stake, there is no room for error at any stage of the flight mission. Though we had successfully conducted a 12-day space capsule recovery experiment using a lower-orbit rocket in January 2007, we have to work on a full-fledged project on mission mode for the human space flight at a revised cost,” Radhakrishnan observed.

The Indian space agency plans to undertake 58 missions over the next five years during the 12th plan period (2012-17) spanning communication satellites, remote-sensing satellites for earth observation and space applications.

“As of now, we do not have a programme to launch a human space flight over the next five years. We are also yet to get approval from the government for the manned mission,” Radhakrishnan added.

The proposed missions, however, include Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to moon, by 2016 after Chandrayaan-1 in 2008.

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